Intro to projects1

Well, like I said, it all depended on if I got to it — and I didn’t. The spinning still sits and waits for me. I did find some ideas about how to achieve the consistent thickness that I’m looking for on icanspin.com; like I expected, it all has to do with pre-drafting. But I haven’t yet found time to sit down and do it. Why? (doubtless you are wondering profoundly)

Well, two reasons really. One, it’s cold, and I’m stubborn, and cheap whenever possible, so I haven’t yet turned on the heat. Heat’s gonna be expensive this year. I have preferred to stay curled up in my chair with a blanket halfway on me. Sitting before my spinning wheel was not really an option yet.

Second reason, I have been working on my knitting — and I only have so much time to spare. Hence the name above — I am going to try to share here the long list of projects that I have going on, whether it be in action or just in my head. Writing them all out will help me prioritize and focus on actually getting them done.

The project I’ve been working on is the Irish Diamond Shawl from Folk shawls by Cheryl Oberle. It’s a lovely shawl, and the very first knitted lace item I’ve done. (Why knit something boring?) I am using Jaeger Alpaca 4-ply, color Olive 383 (alpaca=warm, I hope, even in lace). As a reflection of my preference for smaller needles, I decided to knit it on size 5US, despite the fact that this did not get me gauge. When I tried the gauge swatches, I needed a size 9 to get something in the ballpark, and I just didn’t like the feel of it. So I decided to go smaller and just live with it. The last few nights have been the process of getting the row back on the needles after taking it off onto a lifeline.

This actually had a triple purpose: 1) I wanted an in-process picture that actually allowed me to see what it looked like; 2) I wanted to check the size to see if I wanted to add more pattern repeats, as a result of my decision to use a smaller size needle yet still achieve something like the finished size, and 3) I’ve reached a significant pattern change point, assuming I don’t add those repeats, and I really don’t want to lose what I’ve done up to now. A lifeline seemed like a very good idea. After all, I’m at the point where it is 554 stitches across. This is not chicken feed. Doing a row takes some 20-30 minutes, depending on whether it is the right side or the wrong side. Losing that work struck me as a Very Bad Idea.

Decision that resulted: I am going to not add any more pattern repeats at this point, but I will add some to the second pattern section. Since this is a charted pattern, it won’t be hard to do that. In fact, that’s one of the things this piece has taught me, namely how to work with charts. I’ve still got some problems, but once I connected the stuff I was doing from the written pattern with the chart info, it finally began to make sense. Though I do find that I have had problems with other charts when they require me to read the lines in alternating direction. I’m not sure that my mind will work that way. But we’ll try it again and see. In the meantime, I’m liking the charts here; it saves a lot of space in carrying a pattern around.

So, I strung in a lifeline from leftover sock yarn, which worked fine. But getting it back on the needle turned out to be a little more slow and tedious than I expected. Some of the stitches wanted to bury themselves in the previous row, and while the lifeline made it perfectly possible to draw them out, it didn’t make it easy to do so without picking up the lifeline itself.

So here goes my knitting tip of the day — when picking up stitches, use a smaller size needle to do the actual picking up. I find that it works wonders when trying to drag out one strand from a clump of strands that leaves you wondering which is the one you actually want. Although I was stringing it back onto a size 5, I used a size 0000 to do the picking up. That needle worked even better than the tapestry needle that I started out with.

Anyway, when I get my picture developed, I’ll share it with you. (No, I do not own a digital.)

Well, that’s my first project introduction. I’ll get back to you tomorrow with the sock yarn I’m putting into play.

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